Selection Process

What are USA Fellowships?

USA Fellowships are $50,000 awards to individual artists and small collaboratives. They are awarded in nine creative disciplines (Architecture & Design, Crafts, Dance, Literature, Media, Music, Theater & Performance, Traditional Arts, Visual Arts) across every US state and territory. The Fellowships are unrestricted cash awards that allow artists to decide how they will use the funding to support their creative practices. The USA Fellowship is awarded to artists at any age who have made significant contributions to their field and are determined based on an artist’s cumulative body of work and accomplishments in the arts.

How are USA Fellows selected?

USA Fellows are selected through a rigorous, highly competitive process involving hundreds of experts, scholars, administrators and artists. Artists are identified through a large-scale nomination process and selected by panels of field experts.

How do I apply for a USA Fellowship?

United States Artists does not accept unsolicited applications. Artists are invited to apply only after being nominated by an anonymous group of experts, scholars, administrators and artists. Once an artist is nominated, they are contacted by USA and invited to complete an online application and submit work samples.

How are artists nominated?

Each year USA invites a rotating group of arts leaders, critics, scholars, producers and artists to nominate up to 2 artists for the USA Fellowship award. These nominators remain anonymous, but come from every US state and territory and work in diverse practices and geographies. The nominators are selected by the USA staff and board and play a vital role in creating a diverse pool of applicants and awardees.

What disciplines are USA fellowships awarded in?

USA recognizes that artists today are working within, around, between and across disciplines. For the purposes of the USA Fellows selection process, artists are asked to apply in one discipline that best represents their practice. Fellowships are currently awarded in the following disciplines:

  • Architecture & Design
  • Crafts
  • Dance
  • Literature
  • Media
  • Music
  • Theater & Performance
  • Traditional Arts
  • Visual Arts


Who is eligible to receive a USA Fellowship?

To be considered for a USA Fellowship an artist must:

  • Be 21 years of age or older
  • Be eligible to receive taxable income in the United States
  • Have been living and working in the US for the last two years
  • Not be a United States Artist employee, contractor, board member or one of their immediate family members

A final determination of eligibility is made by USA on a case by case basis.

Who selects the USA Fellows?

USA uses a peer panel process to review all applications. Each year, five field experts per discipline are invited to participate in the selection process of USA Fellows. The panelists represent a range of expertise within each discipline including artists, historians, curators and producers. These panels select the finalists for the awards and the USA Board of Trustees votes on and approves the final candidates.

When are the USA Fellowship Awards announced?

The USA Fellows and the panelists who selected them are announced each fall. Fellows are then invited to participate in an annual Artists Assembly, which takes place in the spring and travels to a new city each year. The Artists Assembly celebrates the Fellows accomplishments and creates an environment where cross-disciplinary exploration can happen and collaborations are seeded.